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12 Family-Friendly Budget Hacks For An Unforgettable Singapore Adventure

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Shasha Dania  •  Jan 29, 2020

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[Updated 5 March 2020] Planning to visit Singapore with your family soon? You might be wondering how to get the most value out of your vacation between the attractions, rides, shopping malls and more. 😊 Credit: Giphy Well there’s no need to worry! We’re here to give you some family-friendly tips to keep your spending within budget. If you’re wondering where to get the best buys and bargains this is what you need for the best family vacation in Singapore yet! P.S. For some of the prices listed below, the Usual Price (U.P.) is stated. Do note that prices may change according to seasonality or demand and we recommend you check directly with the accommodation or attraction’s website to find out the current prices! Transportation
1. Use Singapore’s MRT trains and buses for convenience
 One of the best ways to get around Singapore is using the public transport system. You’re just a short walk away from the nearest MRT train station and you can reach just about any destination using trains or buses! If you have kids under 90cm tall you don’t have to purchase a ticket for them as they get to ride for FREE. P.S. Top up your EZ-Link with an amount that suits your needs, and you can even use it for payments at convenience stores such as 7-Eleven or Cheers! Sometimes you might even be able to get a limited-edition design featuring your favourite characters. 😁 
Single-ride tickets are available for both buses and trains, but if you’re taking multiple trips it’s more worth it to buy a reloadable EZ-Link transport card. With the EZ-Link card, MRT and bus fares range between SGD0.83 - SGD2.08 per single trip (not including discounted amounts for transfers within 2hours). With single-trip tickets, the fares can range between SGD1.50 - SGD2.60 - so you could be saving almost 50% of transport costs using an EZ-Link! 🤩 Budget Hack: Get a reloadable EZ-Link card to cut travel costs in half. Remember to get a full SGD5 refund for it at any concession card stand before you leave Singapore! You can use the Land Transport Authority’s interactive map to help navigate - it includes an MRT map and bus services including shuttle buses to popular attractions!
2. Save money on public transport with the Singapore Tourist Pass
If you’re only in Singapore for 1-3 days, did you know there’s another option that gives you even more value for money? 😮 The Singapore Tourist Pass is a tourist-exclusive EZ-Link card that starts at SGD10 and gives you unlimited rides on all basic bus and train services throughout the island! There’s even a 3-day SG Tourist Pass (SGD30) that comes with a uniquely Singaporean design and includes discounts for popular attractions such as Skyline Luge Sentosa, and Gardens By The Bay. 😍 P.S. You can also supplement your public transport adventures with shorter rides in taxis or car services such as Grab and Gojek (Gocar). Taxi fares can be steep over longer distances (especially if you need to hire a car that fits 5 or more people or has space for wheelchairs or strollers) but it can be worth it for short rides or at the end of a long day. 😊 For reference, a ride in a 4-passenger taxi from Resorts World Sentosa to the Bugis/Kampong Glam area can start from SGD10 during off-peak hours. Attractions
3. Choose the Sentosa Express over a Cable Car for extra convenience and comfort
 Sentosa is definitely a must-visit when you’re in Singapore. Whether you’re chilling on the beach or meeting Minions at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) there’s something for everyone here! One of the most iconic ways to reach Sentosa is by cable car, which allows you to see the gorgeous skyline as you make your way to the island. However, the cable car can be quite pricey with tickets starting from SGD33 (Adult) for round-trip entry into Sentosa! 😱 
Thankfully, there’s a cheaper alternative! Take the stroller and wheelchair-friendly Sentosa Express from Vivocity shopping mall (Sentosa station) into the island. It costs just SGD4 and on a hot day (or if you’re travelling with kids!) it’s a huge relief to be able to take an air-conditioned monorail. 😊 It also stops directly at Beach station which is just a short walk away from Siloso Beach and Palawan Beach. You can also alight at Resorts World Station which drops you at the doorstep of USS! You won’t have to transfer to any buses in Sentosa to reach your end destination. 😁 Budget Hack: If you’re really looking to stick to a budget you can also walk in via the boardwalk which includes FREE entry into Sentosa until 31 Dec 2020. The walk can take about 5-10 minutes and there are travellators to make it a bit easier too. Getting there: Travel to Harbourfront MRT station and walk into the connected VivoCity shopping mall. The Sentosa Express station is located on Level 3, Lobby L.
4. Use the Sentosa Fun Pass for amazing discounts
Visitors to Sentosa can also purchase the  Sentosa FUN Pass , which helps you save on some of Sentosa’s best attractions! Each FUN Pass (Ranging between SGD46 - SGD96 on Klook) comes with 55, 80, or 120 pre-loaded tokens you can redeem for discounts and offers. These include:
  • Admission to the Trick Eye Museum (U.P. SGD25 for Adult admission, 15 tokens)
  • Round-trip Cable Car Skypass (U.P. SGD35, 30 tokens)
  • Admission to S.E.A. Aquarium at Resorts World Sentosa (U.P. SGD45 for Adult admission, 35 tokens)
So you could purchase the 80-token FUN Pass (SGD64 on Klook) and purchase 2 S.E.A. Aquarium (Adult) tickets (U.P. SGD90, 70 tokens) and still have enough tokens leftover to buy a small souvenir or snack! 😆
5. Use the ParkHopper at Singapore’s 4 animal parks to save on entrance fees
Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) operates the 4 animal parks in Singapore: the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari, and Jurong Bird Park. Each park has its own unique collection of animals, but they all provide interactive and educational shows and displays for visitors! Kids, in particular, will enjoy getting up close with animals such as penguins, elephants, and more. 🐧🐘🦒 P.S. Check out our guide to WRS parks for the best visit ever!
If you’re planning to visit more than 1 park, purchase the ParkHopper multi-park pass to get more bang for your buck! Single-park entry tickets range from SGD27 to SGD49 (Adult) and the cost can definitely add up quickly. With the ParkHopper’s combined tickets, you only pay an average of SGD19 to SGD33.25 (Adult) per park. 😮 The ParkHopper Plus even includes tram rides, boat rides, and admission to the Night Safari’s Rainforest Lumina interactive illumination show! Budget Hack: Don’t forget to purchase your tickets online on the official website to enjoy an additional 5-10% off! The Park Hopper is also valid for 7 days from the first visit so you can come back the next day if the weather forecast doesn’t look good or your plans need to change. 😊 Ticket Prices (Online discounted rates, non-peak dates only): Single-park admission: From SGD27 (Adult), and SGD18(Child, ages 3-12) Multi-park admission: From SGD57 (Adult), and SGD28 (Child) Opening Hours: Singapore Zoo and Jurong Bird Park: Open daily; 8.30AM - 6PM (Last entry 5.30PM) Night Safari: Open daily; 7.15PM - 12AM (Last entry 11.15PM) River Safari: Open daily; 10AM - 7PM (Last entry 6.30PM) Address: Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, and River Safari: 80 Mandai Lake Road, Singapore 729826 Jurong Bird Park: 2 Jurong Hill, Singapore 628925 Getting there:  Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, and River Safari: Travel to Khatib MRT station and take the Mandai Khatib shuttle bus which runs between 8AM - 10.40PM and costs SGD1 (EZ-Link; children below 3 years old ride for FREE). You can also look for many other transport options here. Jurong Bird Park: Travel to Boon Lay MRT station and take bus 194 from the bus interchange directly to the Bird Park. Website | Facebook | Instagram
6. Enjoy interactive kid-friendly art exhibits for FREE
Did you know that the National Gallery Singapore’s (NGS) Keppel Centre for Art Education holds FREE exhibitions, activities, and workshops for kids and their families all year-round? 😄 The art pieces help to stimulate your little one’s creativity and development through interactive displays, and the whole family can join in on the fun too! P.S. Do note that an entrance fee is applicable for the other regular galleries. Opening Hours: 10AM - 7PM (Sat-Thurs, last entry 6.30PM), 10AM - 9PM (Fri, last entry 8.30PM) Address: 1 St. Andrew’s Road, Singapore 178957 Getting there: Travel to City Hall MRT station and walk 10 minutes. Website | Facebook | Instagram
7. ‘Let it go’ with the ArtScience Museum’s Disney: Magic of Animation exhibition
 No matter how old you are, there’s nothing better than enjoying a Disney movie with your loved ones. 😊 At the Disney: Magic of Animation exhibition, you’ll get to enjoy decades of behind-the-scenes Disney secrets from classics such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to beloved favourites like The Lion King and Mulan! There’s even exclusive original artwork from the upcoming Frozen 2!  This is the exhibition’s first time in Southeast Asia, so you can’t miss it! There are even interactive audio-visual installations to keep even the youngest of visitors engaged. 🤩 It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime treat for any Disney fan! The ArtScience Museum also has other immersive exhibits including teamLab’s FUTURE WORLD that comes with all the digital magic teamLab is known for. Budget Hack: If you’re planning a visit to the museum, check out the family passes that can help you save up to 30% compared to individual passes! You can also pre-purchase single and double tickets on Klook for an additional discount! Dates (Disney: Magic of Animation): 26 Oct 2019 - 29 Mar 2020 Ticket Prices: Single exhibition: SGD19 (Adult), SGD14 (Concession), SGD54 (Family - 2 Adults + 2 Children) Double exhibition: SGD32 (Adult), SGD24 (Concession), SGD78 (Family) All-access: SGD40 (Adult), SGD30 (Concession), SGD110 (Family) Opening Hours: Open daily; 10AM - 7PM (Last entry 6PM) Address:  6 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018974  Getting there: Travel to Bayfront, Promenade, or Marina Bay MRT station. The museum is a 10-15 minute walk from the station. Website | Facebook | Instagram Shopping
8. Look out for tourist privileges in shopping malls
Have we gotten you into a shopping mood yet? 😉 Singapore’s malls are practically another attraction on their own - you can find almost every brand imaginable here, from famous international names to small local independent stores. Budget Hack: Before you indulge in some retail therapy, remember to check ahead if the mall has any tourist privileges!
Tourist privileges may include 10-15% discounts at selected brands such as Rabeanco, Pedro, and Fila, shopping vouchers, and welcome gifts. Some malls that offer these include Orchard Central, [email protected], ION Orchard, Takashimaya, VivoCity, and IMM outlet mall. You can also shop duty-FREE at T Galleria by DFS and Robinsons - both conveniently located within Orchard Road!
9. Get a good bargain at these famous shopping spots
If you’re not a fan of big brands and want to stretch your wallet as much as possible, then there are plenty of budget-friendly shopping spots you can check out! 😁 Many of these are also local favourites so you won’t have much trouble finding affordable prices and a wide range of items here.  Orchard Road 
If you’re already exploring Orchard Road, head to Far East Plaza or Lucky Plaza for a good selection of affordable and trendy clothing. Far East Plaza is full of small boutiques selling everything from clothing to tech gear to accessories, and Lucky Plaza’s upper floors are home to mini flea markets as well as Refash - a secondhand clothing line! There are also several shops selling toys and kids’ clothes so you can get something for everyone in the family. 😊 Far East Plaza Opening Hours: Open daily; 10AM - 10PM (Individual shops’ hours may differ) Address: 14 Scotts Road, Singapore 228213 Getting there: Travel to Orchard MRT station and walk 10 minutes. Lucky Plaza Opening Hours: Open daily; 10AM - 10PM (Individual shops’ hours may differ) Address: 304 Orchard Road, Singapore 238863 Getting there: Travel to Orchard MRT station and walk 10 minutes. Bugis Our Bugis shopping guide will help you out with this next neighbourhood. Stretching from Bugis MRT Station to Masjid Sultan and the historic Kampong Glam area, two of the most popular shopping streets here are Haji Lane and Arab Street . Housing a mix of street art and small shops and cafes in refurbished shophouses, there are even famous names here such as the dUCk Store and Wardah Books. This is the place to be to find something fashion-forward, or uncover hidden gems waiting to be taken home. 😍 Haji Lane/Arab Street Opening Hours: Accessible 24/7 but individual shops’ hours may differ Getting there: Travel to Bugis MRT station and walk 10 minutes.
Closer to Bugis MRT, you’ll also find the Bugis Street Market which houses 3-storeys of just about anything you might want to buy! You can even pick up a casual outfit here for no more than SGD10, or some accessories or souvenirs for just SGD5. 🤩 Parents, do take note that the streets here can be somewhat narrow or uneven - we recommend using a baby carrier or wrap rather than stroller if you’re planning on spending some time here! Bugis Street Market Opening Hours: Accessible 24/7 but individual shops’ hours may differ Getting there: Travel to Bugis MRT station and take the escalator up to the ground floor. Bugis Street Market is directly opposite the MRT. Others
Who can forget the iconic Mustafa Centre when it comes to budget shopping in Singapore? 😉 It’s definitely a one-stop shopping destination where you can pick up groceries, travel necessities, clothing, toys, and more! If you’re not staying near Mustafa Centre, look out for a Valu$ (pronounced Value Dollar) store near you to find prices starting from as low as 50 cents! 😮 There are lots of chocolates and snacks you can pick up here, and there are even outlets located in the middle of town. Click here for an easy guide to our top picks from Valu$! Mustafa Centre Opening Hours: Open daily; 24/7 Address: 145 Syed Alwi Road, Singapore 207704 Getting there: Travel to Farrer Park MRT station and walk 10 minutes. Valu$ Opening Hours/Address: Check out their website for specific store information.
10. Look out for unique souvenirs to bring back home
Even if you’re on a tight budget, you can definitely find some affordable and one-of-a-kind items to bring back home to commemorate your family adventure. 😊 Bring back some of Singapore’s traditional biscuits and cookies from Munch Munch, or Heavenly Wang . Snacks such as iced gem biscuits, chilli-flavoured tapioca chips, or pineapple sandwich biscuits are all part of the classic Singaporean childhood experience – and now your kids can share in the sweet joy too! 😁 Even better, prices for these tidbits can start from as low as SGD2! Budget Hack: If you’re looking for items from brands such as Cadbury, Nestle and more at low prices, look out for a Valu$ (pronounced ‘value dollar’) Store near you. Prices there can start from as low as 70 cents so you can really stretch your dollar and return with a luggage worth of goodies. 😉 Halal Status: Heavenly Wang is halal-certified, and you can click here for a list of locations. Munch Munch is not halal-certified but may stock halal-certified individual products. We recommend that you check the products and clarify doubts with the staff members before purchasing at your own discretion.
Tiger Balm is a homegrown Singaporean brand of ointment that treats a range of issues from muscle aches to insect bites to runny noses. It’s an item you’ll find in almost every Singaporean household and the best part is that you can find it just about anywhere! Prices vary across different pharmacies and locations, but you can usually shop around to find one that fits your budget. 😊 We recommend checking out Mustafa Centre, Watsons, or Guardian.
If you’re looking for Singaporean-themed knickknacks, you definitely have to head to Naiise . Stocking everything from stationery to accessories to home decor, here’s where you’ll find something unique that will always remind you of your trip to Singapore – such as these cushions shaped like local treats like epok-epok (curry puff) and otak-otak! The prices here might be a little bit steeper depending on the product, but it’s worth it for a keepsake that will last for a long time. Why settle for a generic I❤️SG item when you could bring home a soft and squishy cushion to remind you of your favourite snack? 😄 Other stores that carry local creations include SupermamaOnlewo, and Photo Phactory. Accommodations and F&B
11. Stay near halal food for extra convenience and ease
You won’t have much trouble finding family-friendly accommodations around Singapore, but there are definitely some neighbourhoods that are more centrally located, accessible, and most importantly close to halal food! 😁 We’ve rounded up some hotels in key areas you could take a look at. Note: All nightly rates here were taken from a search for a 2-night stay (Fri-Sun) in March, with 2 adults and 2 kids. Budget Hack:  Do contact the hotel before booking if you need to request any additional bedding. Some hotels will not charge for kids up to a certain age who can sleep using the existing bedding, but you don’t want any additional costs to sneak up on you! Chinatown
Hotels in the Chinatown area are near the Chinatown or Outram Park MRT stations (covering 3 different MRT lines in total!) for a quick MRT journey to town, and there are also plenty of buses that reach the central town area in less than 20 minutes. There are several halal eateries in Chinatown as well as hawker centres where you can have an affordable meal of less than SGD7/plate! Some family-friendly hotels here include the Harbour Ville Hotel (From RM253/night on Agoda), and Butternut Tree Hotel (From RM479/night on Agoda). Bugis/Kallang
We’ve already mentioned that Bugis is a shopping haven but it’s also full of halal food - so many halal eateries in fact that our ultimate Bugis food guide has over 50 entries. 😉 There are a mix of boutique hotels and hostels here, including the Jamilla Boutique Inn (From RM225/night on Agoda) as well as the Village Hotel Bugis (From RM461/night on Agoda) which has its own halal-certified restaurant and buffet with 1-for-1 dining offers. 😋  Little India 
Little India is one of the historic heritage districts of Singapore, and it’s also close to Farrer Park, Jalan Besar, and Little India MRT stations that are all a short journey away from town. Farrer Park and Little India MRT stations are even on a direct line to Harbourfront MRT which leads to Sentosa! You’ll also find several Indian-Muslim-owned eateries scattered around here for a quick and easy meal. Check out Tai Hoe Hotel (From RM398/night on Agoda) for a cozy and convenient option near Mustafa Centre and Farrer Park MRT, or Snooze Inn @ Dickson Road (From RM389/night on Agoda) which has bunkbed-style rooms that can even accommodate families of 6-7 people.
12. Look for family-friendly eateries where kids eat for FREE!
We already have a list of 7 kid-friendly halal cafes in Singapore you can check out, but did you know there are also places where kids can eat FREE? 😍 It makes dining out a breeze as many of these places will also offer specific kid-friendly menus perfect for your little ones. Here are some you should check out 😋:
  • Pizza Hut (Halal-certified): Kids under 10 years old can redeem 1 FREE kids’ meal per a la carte main or set meal (Regular/Large Pizza, Pasta, Baked Rice, or Entree) 
  • Swensens (Halal-certified): Kids 4-12 years old can redeem a FREE breakfast between 8AM - 11AM on weekends and Public Holidays, 1 redemption with every Adult’s Breakfast.
  • Seoul Garden (Halal-certified): Kids 4-12 years old dine FREE with every paying adult.
Enjoying a family vacation together doesn’t mean having to sacrifice your bank account. 😊 With some of these useful hacks on hand, you can experience the best that Singapore has to offer without having to worry! This article is brought to you by Singapore Tourism Board.